Movie Review – Cowboys & Aliens

There are a few things in this life that I trust explicitly. The Bible. My dad. And anything by anyone associated with J.J. Abrams. So when I heard about ‘Cowboys & Aliens’ – written by LOST co-creator Damon Lindelof along with Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (co-creators of Fringe) – I was beyond excited despite the perhaps silly-sounding premise. DID I MENTION THAT THEY WROTE STAR TREK??? Furthermore, the director – Jon Favreau – directed Iron Man and Elf. So yeah. 
Other key factors in my decision to see this movie: Daniel Craig. Um duh. Olivia Wilde. Double duh. Harrison Ford. And Sam Rockwell!!! The main character/only character in ‘Moon,’ which is an absolutely amazing movie directed by Duncan Jones aka DAVID BOWIE’S SON. Also – COWBOYS. And ALIENS BLOWING CRAP UP. C’mon people, this is a no-brainer.
Of course, with such high expectations, it’s easy for a film to disappoint. So was that the case with C&A? 
If anything, it was better than expected. Based on the trailers, I kind of thought Olivia Wilde was only there to be boobs. But she wasn’t! I’m not going to say she was a complicated character, but she was interesting, engaging, and integral to the plot. I also was expecting it to have Michael Baysian levels of explosions, but I was wrong on that count too – thank God. 
Instead, I was treated to a well thought out movie with very interesting characters. From the very beginning of the film, it’s apparent that there’s a lot of backstory here. You’ve got a gun-wielding preacher, a doctor who wants to run a bar, a dying town propped up by a cattle mogul/army veteran with a weak, spoiled son. You’ve also got a father who is missing in action, and oh yeah – a $1000 bounty on Daniel Craig – who, it just happens, can’t remember who he is or why he has a crazy gauntlet stuck on his wrist.
In any other western, Craig would be the stranger who shows up to the dying town, earns the respect of the humble townsfolk by standing up to the corrupt cattle boss, and then defended his new home from the small army of bandits just outside town. But instead there are alien abductions, apache magic, monsters, and mining. And somehow it all works. 
Olivia Wilde and Daniel Craig have pretty good chemistry. Ordinarily this would be the aspect of the movie I was most excited about. However, I found the budding friendship between Craig and Ford to be just as satisfying. In fact, I would say Harrison Ford’s journey throughout the movie is perhaps the film’s strongest part. 
To be sure, the movie was funny, action-packed, interesting, and surprisingly heart-warming at times. It was very well-rounded. It wasn’t deep or intellectual, but it wasn’t empty either. In short, it was a perfect summer movie, and I definitely recommend it.

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